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William praises ‘impressive’ Queensferry Crossing as he honours project director

Bridge builder David Climie was one of three pioneers given a royal medal.

The Duke of Cambridge hailed the “impressive” Queensferry Crossing after presenting a medal to the famed engineer behind the bridge.

David Climie was one of three pioneers given a royal medal at the Royal Society of Edinburgh as William began a day of engagements in the city.

The duke was formally admitted as an honorary fellow of the educational charity before handing out awards to Mr Climie, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Professor Richard Henderson and composer and conductor Dr Thea Musgrave.

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The Queensferry Crossing opened to traffic last year (Jane Barlow/PA)

Mr Climie, who oversaw the seven-year Queensferry Crossing construction project, was described as “one of the world’s greatest bridge builders” as he received his medal.

Later, the duke told him the £1.35 billion bridge spanning the Firth of Forth is “very impressive”.

Mr Climie said: “I was honoured to meet him. He mentioned he had seen the bridge as he flew into Edinburgh Airport today.

“He was impressed with the way the third crossing really complemented the two that are already there.”

Prof Henderson works in the field of electron microscopy and the audience at the Royal Society heard his breakthrough achievement was a feat believed to be impossible which has “revolutionised the equipment and methodology used in molecular medicine”.

He said it was a “great pleasure and honour” to meet the duke.

Dr Musgrave, seen as one of the most successful and influential Scottish composers of her time, was unable to be present to collect her award.

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The Duke of Cambridge leaves the Royal Society of Edinburgh following the presentation of royal medals, during a day of engagements in the city (Jane Barlow/PA)

Following the medal ceremony, the duke met young entrepreneurs being supported by the Royal Society’s enterprise fellowship programme.

Michael Harkins, chief executive officer of children’s swimming aid start-up Turtle Pack, told him “Don’t leave me hanging” as he demonstrated a special high-five used with the devices.

Mr Harkins said meeting the royal visitor was an “incredible experience”, and the high-five was successful on a second attempt.

The duke then tried his hand at the Soundbop musical educational tool.

He later attended a commemorative service at the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle, before an evening reception marking 70 years of the NHS.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Health Secretary Jeane Freeman will join William for the reception at the National Museum of Scotland, along with 700 invited guests nominated by Scotland’s 14 health boards.

Meanwhile, the Queen presented a new standard to the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards at Leuchars Station in Fife on Thursday.

Following a parade, the Queen viewed equipment and vehicles and met families at the base.

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